The gerrymanders and National’s 2017 constraints

Parliament is back in business with National in charge to a degree not seen since first-past-the-post “parliamentary dictatorship” days — thanks to three successful gerrymanders and one failed one. Two of the successful gerrymanders were National’s contrivances to get its … Continue reading

Investing, not spending. A tougher way of thinking

The day after the election John Key said child poverty was his third-term priority target. Next day Bill English laid down the law to public sector chiefs about using a targeted “investment approach” to ease this political discomfort. Investment, by … Continue reading

National’s super app: macro-personality Key

Labour has learnt — or should have learnt — that a new leader is not an automatic transit pass to the political uplands. But some leaders are uplands inhabitants whether or not their party is. How come? Labour’s poll average … Continue reading

Labour not “part of the communities we live in”

Labour leadership aspirant Grant Robertson told a blunt truism to Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand the Monday after the election. “Politics has to be about more than elections,” he said. “It has to about being part of the communities … Continue reading

The strategic dimension to a third term

Government is always a balancing act. For this term the balance is between an urge in the National party for business-friendly action and staying in touch with the wider public. It doesn’t matter for that balancing act whether National keeps … Continue reading

The best result John Key could have got

John Key got his best result: a majority on his own or with young David Seymour if National’s vote drops on the special votes as much as the half per cent it dropped in 2011. He didn’t need the Conservatives … Continue reading

Spies, education, finances, a star and a forecast

John Key pulled the election date forward. He said it was to avoid clashes with likely global leaders’ visits after the G20 meeting in Australia in November. But clouds were looming too. One was John Banks’ conviction, widely expected. By … Continue reading

An adept sermoniser on a pillar of good government

Who came down from the mountain last week carrying tablets of stone from which he read a fiscal sermon? Russel Norman. What’s going on here? Norman’s sermon was to John Key and Bill English. It abominated election lollies of the … Continue reading

The health pillar of good government

Whatever the result on September 20, John Key will start the next term with diminished personal authority. Our democracy’s health is also diminished. Key’s inch-by-inch retreat to the point where his imagined leftwing conspiracy turned into a rightwing one and … Continue reading

The foundation and a pillar of good government

Can you fit “Collins” and “justice” comfortably in the same sentence? Will John Key want to if he gets to form the cabinet after September 20? The Minister of Justice’s behaviour has been unbecoming of her portfolio and of a … Continue reading